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Some Gene Roasting Questions from a Newbie
kkoltunf
best post

riends,

I just did a few roasts with my new Gene Cafe, and I still have some questions even after reading through many of the threads here. I would appreciate hearing about your own experiences to help me with my own. My last roast went like this: warmed up at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, then dumped 1/2 pound Brazil in for an initial 300 degrees for five minutes, ramped up to 482 until FC, then after 30 seconds dropped down to 451 to the end of the roast. So here are the questions:

1) I could hear FC, but had a much harder time figuring out when it ended. My best guess was that it ended after 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Is there a consensus about roughly how long FC goes for, even if one drops (as I did) the temp mid-crack?

2) I have read about that 4 minute desirable lag between 1st and 2nd crack. Is that four minutes timed from the beginning of FC or when it ends? If you begin that 4 minute countdown from the beginning of FC, then it matters less to me whether I know when FC actually ends. Still, it would be nice to know.

3) I have this new machine burnt smell in my room from these initial roasts. I assume this is just breaking in a new machine and that after a few more runs that smell will not return (it is not a roasting smell). Have others had this experience.

Again, many thanks for any advice.

take care,

Ken
Edited by ginny on 04/25/2013 9:38 AM
 
Bearpaw
Thanks so much for your post.

I have 50 roasts on the Gene and still find myself asking similar questions about timing. I will think first crack is over, and then here comes another lonely snap! This would be very helpful for us newbies, if some of the experienced folks could share their criteria for "end of first crack" whether it be end of rolling first crack or whatever.

It makes sense if your internal cranial bean counter has heard 3/4 of your bean load snap, that might relate to an absolute bean temperature of X which is the magic period between first and second to stop your roast after 30 seconds and achieve sweetness and brightness if that is your goal, or let it go 45 to 60 and get more depth.

In my experience, bumping down the temp from my roast temp during first crack does change the frequency of snaps within 10 seconds or so. So I think we are stretching it but that makes it harder to observe as an entity of time, temperature, and bean characteristics. If I bump down I invariably go beyond 4 minutes to second crack from 1C onset, and sometimes bake out sugars going 5 minutes plus with no second crack. And I have a hot gene, 4.5 minutes to temp empty.

So I think you may be right to ask is the 4 minute target from end of first, beginning, or end of rolling first? And is a bump down during first going to add time to first, as Sweet Maria's roast experiments suggest? I am not saying the 4 minute target is sacred, but we newbies do benefit from parameters, or we tend to focus on too many variables.

Reading some threads at Sweet Maria's, looks like the probat batch roasters and commercial roasters hit second crack close to 30-45 seconds after end of first. I think the gene behaves that way at higher temp sets. I get to second between 3:30 and 4:00 after onset of first if I just go at 471, say. Total roast time will usually be 15 minutes if I do that. I am roasting Brazil Daterra, washed Yirgacheffe, Harrar, Sidamo and Mexican naturals, and Kona, and have never roasted at 482, usually 465 to 471. I don't usually warm the beans, except for the Kona, and only a few minutes there. Yellow is usually 5-6 minutes in to my roasts.

It is tempting not to bump down as aggressively and just count 30 seconds after end of first, but again, how do we judge first is over, should we switch from audible to visible and aromatic cues when snaps diminish?

I was intrigued by John Despres' comments elsewhere about "when the aroma sweetens" and wonder if that happens for you John at the end of first crack or before or after? Softening edges might help visually judge, but this is a lot for us to watch at once, lighting can be an issue, and often the cues collide rather than coincide.

John D's comment for low growns: "Bump to 460F to keep the climb a bit slower
Wait 30S into 1st crack, drop to 445F
Watch, time, listen and smell
At about the time the aroma sweetens, I'm very close to the bright stage, so I'll let it go longer for the deeper notes.
Maybe dump 45-60S after end of 1st crack for a Full City." (John, sounds like you are timing after your bump to 445. It might be helpful if you share some of those times with us; that might help immensely.)

If we approach first crack at lower temps say 460, then bump down, sounds to me like we should be looking for 4 minutes or so at the end of a prolonged first crack of perhaps two minutes duration. I am going to try John's suggestion on my machine next time I roast, and promise not to panic if I am getting into second six minutes after first onset. However this will be all new territory to me and I am afraid I'll turn into a baker rather than a roaster.

Wally Hebert, Bearpaw
Gene Cafe, Behmor, Aeropress, various pourover, biggins, heirloom coffeepots, Crossland CC1 with VST 18 and 15 gram baskets.

"How Good's the Coffee; How Bad's the Pie!"
 
kkoltunf
Bearpaw,

Many thanks for your post - so thoughtful and full of information that I will need to read it a second and third time. A lot here to digest (pun intended).

Tell me - what did you mean that your hot gene "4.5 minutes to temp empty"? Looks like I have similar roast times to you (I need to check my log), but I don't know what the 4.5 minutes measures with regard to temp empty.

Let's keep this discussion going as we work through this roasting, not baking!!

Ken
 
ginny
The above post by Ken and the response by Wally are what we at HRO are
all about and I want to thank you both for your participation on this forum.

bravo...

smoking




ginny
Edited by ginny on 04/28/2013 1:19 AM
 
Bearpaw
Hey, I mean that if I set at 482 and turn it on cold no beans, my readout is 482 in 4.5 to 5 minutes. John D and others will tell you if you have a gene that takes 7 or so minutes empty to get to 482, then you will need to use different profiles than someone with a hot gene....
Gene Cafe, Behmor, Aeropress, various pourover, biggins, heirloom coffeepots, Crossland CC1 with VST 18 and 15 gram baskets.

"How Good's the Coffee; How Bad's the Pie!"
 
Bearpaw
Ken, I just found another thread here at homeroasters on coffee roasting chemistry called first to second crack that has some of the answers to our questions here. maybe others will chime in as well.

Wally
Gene Cafe, Behmor, Aeropress, various pourover, biggins, heirloom coffeepots, Crossland CC1 with VST 18 and 15 gram baskets.

"How Good's the Coffee; How Bad's the Pie!"
 
kkoltunf
Wally,

Can you paste the URL into this thread so I can find it as well?

Thanks,

Ken
 
Bearpaw
here it is go to discussion forum, then coffee chemistry category, then a thread called first crack to second

John Despres is on there confirming 4 minutes from onset of first crack to second. I still think we need illumination on how to detect end of first crack, or a timing point to get to city +, full city.

Bearpaw

http://forum.home...ad_id=1925
Edited by ginny on 04/28/2013 1:20 AM
Gene Cafe, Behmor, Aeropress, various pourover, biggins, heirloom coffeepots, Crossland CC1 with VST 18 and 15 gram baskets.

"How Good's the Coffee; How Bad's the Pie!"
 
Bearpaw
Here is a quote from sweet maria's experiments with first crack:

"Stretching first crack…What is happening during 1st crack? The coffee expands and begins to release moisture, but more importantly it is when caramelization begins. This is important mostly because if caramelization stalls you can develop baked flavors in the cup - harsh cereal notes with straw and sometimes corn-like flavors. This makes the attempt to stretch out this part of the roast a little tricky, since you want to make sure that it never dips below the temperatures where caramelization occurs - between 340° and 400° INTERNAL bean temperature. Depending on your probe and roasting environment, this could be a reading of around 380°-415°, but a good rule of thumb is to just be sure not to let the crack itself stop or let it get below the temperature at which the 1st crack began."

Ignore the temps because they have bean probes and we don't. The last sentence is important I think. Perhaps our question should be how to slow 1C without stalling it. My first crack measured temps on the gene tend to be after it has reached the target and is cycling. so my experienced issue is if I bump down, 1C stalls, and I am at 465 to 471 to start with bumping down to 450.

Is anyone using a less pronounced bumpdown approach, a few degrees at a time. That might be a fruitful approach, pun intended.

Bearpaw
Gene Cafe, Behmor, Aeropress, various pourover, biggins, heirloom coffeepots, Crossland CC1 with VST 18 and 15 gram baskets.

"How Good's the Coffee; How Bad's the Pie!"
 
kkoltunf
Bearpaw,

My understanding is that were you to bump down to 451 that would not stall the roast because the beans at FC actually are giving off heat, and dropping to 451 is just not enough to stall that process. I did so in my last two roasts and I did not notice any stalling. I waited until 30 seconds into FC then dropped to 451 (first crack began around 462). But even with all the scientific chemistry, this is not a science. It's a craft.

Ken
 
MikeWI
@BearPaw
I've been doing a little experimenting along those lines for a while now. I had been running it at 482 and then turning it down, but I didn't know how far was safe, and what happens during that coasting where "cold" air is being blown across the beans? I decided that since the GC only knows two stated for the heater ie. "on/off" that it would make more sense to set a lower starting temp.

It seems that ideally, you could set it for the temp that 1C starts at (in the GC, not the temp that's on paper) and leave it there, but I still have a lot of trouble detecting the start so I just started lowering the temp. I'm at 430 now for the entire roast, and while I don't have enough experience to say if it's any better, it is at least still producing a very good roast for me. At least this way the coffee is getting to 1C just as fast as it would at a higher temp, but I don't have to turn it down.
 
www.allcreaturesphoto.com
kkoltunf
You achieve FC at 430?!! Wow - my Gene does not get to first crack until 462. How does one explain that difference? I understand that these are temp readings of the machine and not BMT (which would be far lower), but still.

Ken
 
Barrie
kkoltunf wrote:

You achieve FC at 430?!! Wow - my Gene does not get to first crack until 462. How does one explain that difference? I understand that these are temp readings of the machine and not BMT (which would be far lower), but still.

Ken


I have recently moved from GC to hottop but here are my five cents' worth. There are so many variables that it is difficult to transfer one individual/machine's experience to another. That said, one of the variables is whether you are doing a repeat roast or not. A second roast will "get there" quicker. For that reason, I always preheated and then cooled all the way down to 140, to attempt to allay that variable. On my machine, using the profile below, I found that 1C would occur with the displayed temperature about 460-462. I experimented with turning down the target temp and found that, for most beans, it would take about 4 min from the start of 1C to start of 2C if I turned down to 440. This was arrived at by trial and error, as everyone has to do. ThumbsUp

One man's profile: Preheat/cool all the way (140)/474/beans in/424 until beans pale yellow (usually about 5min)/482 to 1C (or just before)/440 to chosen end point.

For detection of the various stages of roasting:
https://www.sweetmarias.com/library/content/using-sight-determine-degree-roast

Anyone looking for a relatively-new used GC, by the way?
Barrie (San Diego, CA)
"So much to learn, so little time."
Hottop 2K+., Artisan, Jura Capresso ENA 3 (i.e. espresso).
 
John Despres
I am crazy, crazy busy these days. I've read the thread and you all are doing fine.

The tough part is to learn your machine and its own tendencies.

1st lasts about 1.5 - 2 minutes. I consider it to end when the pops are coming with 2-3 seconds between them. Just as I consider the start to be when the pops start in rapid succession.

The best profiles to begin with are those of Eddie Dove. I started there and after time developed my own ways. None of which are perfect, none of which are wrong or right.

Keep roasting! Have fun! I'll watch the thread and jump in if any thing goes wacko, but you are all on the right track. Keep roasting and keep detailed logs.

And have fun!

John
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
www.sceneitallproductions.com
Bearpaw
Thanks all, and John D. thanks for the 2-3 seconds comment. saves us from the tyranny of outliers....

Bearpaw
Gene Cafe, Behmor, Aeropress, various pourover, biggins, heirloom coffeepots, Crossland CC1 with VST 18 and 15 gram baskets.

"How Good's the Coffee; How Bad's the Pie!"
 
MikeWI
kkoltunf wrote:
You achieve FC at 430?!! Wow - my Gene does not get to first crack until 462. How does one explain that difference? I understand that these are temp readings of the machine and not BMT (which would be far lower), but still.
Ken

Look at it this way; Your GC is reading 462 degrees roast air temperature as it exits the roasting chamber. If your roaster could reach 482 instantly, you would read the temp as 482 when 1C occurred.

Since I'm not letting the roaster go above 430, that's the temp it shows (approximately) when 1C starts. I'd bet we both are getting there in about the same amount of time as the GC is using maximum heat whenever it's on. Meaning that all you're doing is telling it where to stop heating, not how fast to ramp.
 
www.allcreaturesphoto.com
Bearpaw
I did 430 on some beans I roast low heat. Did hit first around 15 min. Stopped at 20 never hit second or got close. Did give me confidence to roast these beans at 460 which worked fine. W
Gene Cafe, Behmor, Aeropress, various pourover, biggins, heirloom coffeepots, Crossland CC1 with VST 18 and 15 gram baskets.

"How Good's the Coffee; How Bad's the Pie!"
 
kkoltunf
Very interesting. Last few roasts I have gone 5 minutes at 300, then cranked it up to 482. I would usually hit first crack between 14-15 minutes, then reduced to 451 after about 40 seconds of FC. That seems to work well, but I am about to taste some Java Sunda and find out!!

Ken
 
John Despres
Interestingly, somewhere here I posted results of a roast I did setting my Gene at 400 after a preheat and, yes, I hit first crack but it took quite a while (25030 minutes, maybe) and I don't think the coffee was very good.

Starting low & slow is one way to go. Or go high & fast to see what happens at the other end...

In any event, just have fun!

John
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
www.sceneitallproductions.com
Bmb
For what "they" say, slow and low is better for low density beans (that are planted in lower sites, under 1200m) that normally also have a "bigger" "cut" and therefore it's easier to get heat into the bean.

Higher density beans are harder to heat therefore you need to make a "fast and hot" roast to allow the beans to heat properly for first crack.
"They" also say that fast to 1C enhances acidity and "variety taste" (specific taste of a given bean variety, site or terroir), and slower heat less acidic and milder results.

I got great looking looking roasts (big beans, little chaff and homogenous beautiful brown color) beginning low and hot, however the taste was OK but dull.

Using the same profile (after Roastmaster's curves) I got different results, in the same taste range but not quite there.

The best taste results I had were while roasting only 100 to 130gr.

Other roasts were nothing special the first days but got quite good after 10 days.

As I bought very fresh beans I do double roasting (after Fricke), just to dry the beans some more.

I only achieved 5 to 10% of good roasts (one I rated with 91 points), the rest were OK (from 80 to 84) but rather good for blending.

Good luck Welcome
GC, Bezzera Strega, Macap 4M, Graef ES90, Lido, Mokas, Drip, AP & Co.
 
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